How Chance The Rapper Inspired A City To Stay Woke And Vote
The artist literally led a movement.
“I got my city doing front flips,” Chance the Rapper croons on his song “Angels”—that’s exactly what the city of Chicago was doing after he led thousands of fans to the voting polls on Nov. 7, following a free concert in Grant Park.
The 23-year-old rapper’s non-profit organization Social Works partnered with Chicago Votes and music blog and platform Prime Fortune to create a public event called “Parade to the Polls.” Its goal was simple: to unite an otherwise segregated city and encourage Chicagoans to “stay woke and vote.”
Prime Fortune leaders Kemdah Stroud and Chris Minto, who officially launched their artist’s platform in 2014, said throwing the parade was a “positive thing that brings the city together for an important cause.”
Chicago is often portrayed in the media for its heinous violence, but Stroud said their organization aims to “combat the stereotype by elevating the spirits of the city.” Through hosting events that celebrate street culture and local emerging artists, Prime Fortune’s mission aligns with Chance’s motto: music unites us all.
At the free Grant Park concert, local artists like Twin Peaks, Taylor Bennett (Chance’s younger brother) and Malcolm London took the stage to inspire oneness in a city that’s so often divided.
Chance exploded onto the mic with emotionally charged renditions of his hits (“Angels” and “No Problem” to name a few) and to lead his city in a crowd-wide “stay woke and vote” chant.
It was the ultimate moment of unity. No angry, divisive language—just a message of unity and empowerment for young voters. In a big crowd, it’s hard to feel like an individual—but millennial voices matter. According to the Pew Research Center, voters between the ages of 18–35 now make up roughly 31 percent of the overall electorate.
Following the concert, Chance marched thousands of people to an early voting site, where a swell of young voters used 100 touch-screen booths to make their voices heard.
In an election that’s been filled with lots of talk, Chance pulled all his talent and power to inspire action. He wasn’t just a hometown hero—he was a national one.